Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

‘I hope we won’t have to understand racism one day’: Researching or reproducing ‘race’ in social psychological research?

Howarth, Caroline (2009) ‘I hope we won’t have to understand racism one day’: Researching or reproducing ‘race’ in social psychological research? British Journal of Social Psychology, 48 (3). pp. 407-426. ISSN 0144-6665

Download (264kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1348/014466608X360727


This paper examines the reification and problemization of ‘race’ in Psychological research in both influential studies in the field and inmy empirical work. The main argument is that we need to examine how representations of ‘race’ are assumed, produced and contested in research practice. This argument is made by (a) showing how research in the area adopts everyday representations of ‘race’ as essentialized and (b) with an illustration of the construction of ‘race’ within my study. This study explores how children in a predominantly white setting accept and contest representations that race. twenty two children from a range of cultural backgrounds volunteered to discuss their views and experiences of ‘race’ and racism in a naturalistic research activity. The analysis reveals that racialized difference is something that is constructed as both ‘real’—in that it can be seen, touched and even caught from ‘the other’ and simultaneously something that is constructed, imposed and damaging. This highlights the possibilities for racialized others to take up positions as agents and not (only) as objects of the racializing and racist gaze, and so presents the case for thinking, debating and researching beyond reifying representations of ‘race’. This has important lessons for social psychology: namely, we cannot continue to take racial categorization as a naturalistic or self-evident aspect of the social worlds that our discipline plays an important role in constructing and defending.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 The British Psychological Society
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 15 May 2009 08:09
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:13

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics